The plan was to shelter in hides either at Marshside or Martin Mere today after I’d picked up Neill and Trops.
Conditions were bracing – at least a Force 100 SWly with driving rain in quite staggering proportions, so the obvious thing to do was check out the Marine Lake to see what had blown in.
Unfortunately the weather was too bonkers to see much, apart from a GBB killing a Coot (I wasn’t expecting that) and a colour ringed Herring Gull (T:96J).
I drove round to Marshside and we staggered against the wind down to Nels to get out of the hooley.
Most birds were keeping low – a passing Peregrine trying to head south was going backwards over the golf course, but a female Goosander going south lower down fared better at about 1230 – my first at the old patch for quite a while, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up on the Marine Lake.
Trops picked up no fewer than 6 Grey Plover hunkering down with the Curlew and Blackwits at the back of Marshside One, but then the rain really started to get heavy and visibility from the hide deteriorated a bit:
As the above picture shows.
By the time we got out of Nels the tide had completely covered the outer marsh, so we motored up to Crossens and checked the floods – stacks of wader, especially Oystercatchers, but Redshank, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Curlew, Rock Pipit, gulls and Skylarks too, shame it was too wild to get a steady view of anything.
With the light fading we pushed on towards Banks and Hesketh Bank, finding one of the Great White Egrets cowering in the corner of a field on the Old Hollows Farm bend, while a herd of about 70 Whoopers off Guide Road seemed to have a Bewick’s or two among ’em, but they kept disappearing amongst the sprouts, wind and rain…there will be easier days to watch ’em this winter no doubt.
Flocks of Fieldfare and Starling on the ploughed fields just north of Banks.
Fairly quiet on the coast earlier this week, with not much time to get any birding done in the face of a beserker work load, but the Caspian Gull floated by the office at Ainsdale a few times, and a female Sparrowhawk was working the frontal dunes hard for a day or two before conditions got too wild – I hope the Black Redstart kept its head down.
70+ Twite between Southport Pier and Fairways on Wednesday, with Raven and Marsh Harrier on Crossens Outer the same day.
A Peacock butterfly was on the wing at the end of Dawlish Drive at Marshside on Friday.